U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann officially launched her presidential campaign Monday. Just to recap:
- The New York Times says Bachmann's presidential run will test the strength and longevity of the tea party movement;
- The Star Tribune says Bachmann's campaign is making a big splash in Iowa;
- Via Iowa City Patch, IowaPolitics.com says Bachmann touted her in her speech; and
- MPR says Iowa Republicans like what they're hearing from Bachmann.
Bachmann's big day went off almost without a hitch. Then she told a Fox News reporter that she shared the same spirit as John Wayne, the iconic actor who, just like her, was born in Waterloo. The trouble is, John Wayne was born in Winterset, Iowa (though his parents did live briefly in Waterloo). There actually was a "John Wayne" born in Waterloo, but it was John Wayne Gacy, the "Killer Clown" who raped and murdered 33 teenage boys in the 1970s and who was put to death in 1994. Bachmann's flub prompted a good deal of mockery in the blogosphere, typified by this City Pages post.
The John Wayne gaffe notwithstanding, Bachmann had a good day in Iowa. That's bad news for former Gov. Tim Pawlenty. He and Bachmann both consider Iowa to be a key stepping stone in the path to the eventual GOP nomination, and Bachmann's recent surge there is apparently causing friction between the two candidates. The Wall Street Journal reports that Pawlenty released a radio ad targeting Bachmann, and Politico says Pawlenty's campaign scrubbed a reference to Bachmann from its website.
Adding to the tension, Pawlenty ally Ron Carey—former chairman of the Minnesota Republican Party and an ex-Bachmann staffer—slammed Bachmann in an opinion piece on the Des Moines Register. Carey says Bachmann's offices were "wildly out of control" in his time working for her, and accused Bachmann of being "unable, or unwilling, to handle the basic duties of a campaign or congressional office."
Politico says Bachmann has never successfully passed any legislation in Congress.
OpenSecrets.org says Bachmann has a steep hill to climb as a candidate—not because of her gender, but because of her occupation. Since 1912, no member of the U.S. House of Representatives has managed to secure their party's nomination for president. Still, OpenSecrets says Bachmann's well-known talent for fundraising might make her more competitive than her predecessors.
Finally, Patch reader Jeremy Rohr pointed us to this extensive profile piece in the conservative Weekly Standard. It includes some interesting details about Bachmann's life that haven't surfaced elsewhere, and many might find it a suitable antidote to Rolling Stone's vitriolic biography of her from last week.
*Bonus: The Huffington Post has a photo slideshow of Bachmann's "Undefinable Style" that fans and critics alike might enjoy.